In August and September of this year a minister wrote two articles for the religion section of a neighboring town newspaper. The titles were, “The many sides of baptism” and “Damascus predictions long ago fulfilled.” He used several verses of Scripture to corroborate his belief that water baptism is necessary for salvation — that one must be immersed in water in order to be saved.
I disagree — water baptism is not necessary for salvation.
“…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Heb.9:22 (NASB) “but if we walk in the light as He Himself is the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 Jn. 1:7 (NASB). There is not one thing that man can do or add to the finished work of Christ to make himself fit to receive God’s free gift.
John 1:12-13, “But to all who welcomed Him, who believe in His name, He gave the power to become God’s children. They have been born, not of the blood of parents or of a sexual desire or of a man’s desire but of God.” (Beck) In these verses not one word is mentioned about water baptism. A person receives Him and believes in His name and God does the rest.
James 1:18, “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” (NASB) The Word of God regenerates the sinner through the power of that Word. James did not say, “word of truth and water baptism.” Immersion in water does not wash away sin.
Mark 16:16, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” (NASB) Jesus did not say that those who are not baptized would be condemned — He said those who do not believe will be condemned. Those who refuse to believe will be condemned regardless of whether or not they have been baptized. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 (NASB)
Romans 10:9, “Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in and rely on the truth) that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Amplified)
Acts 16:31, “And they said (Paul and Silas), ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'” (NASB)
Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (KJV) We are saved by grace through faith. Baptism symbolizes our identity with Christ, our willingness to live righteously, and identifies us with the New Covenant.
Consider this: A minister enters a diner and notices a man sitting alone and looking despondent. He walks over and begins a conversation with the man and discovers that the man has never made a profession of faith. The minister leads the man, through the Word, to faith in Jesus. The individual confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead. The minister tells the man that he must be baptized immediately. They leave the diner and start to cross that street to the minister’s church and a car hits the man and kills him. Is his destiny eternal life or eternal damnation?
In my next post I will discuss fulfilled prophecy.